Every Year I Get Stressed Hand-Making Gifts For My Son But I Love It

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When it comes to holiday gifts for our son, my ex and I have always tended to go by the oft-quoted mantra of “something to want, something to need, something to wear, something to read” when picking out gifts for my 11-year-old son.

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That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t end up with a ton of extra stuff from family members and friends, but it does mean that his dad and I generally keep it pretty low-key. I almost always insist on hand-making gifts for my son for Christmas, and the process of doing so almost always stresses me out beyond belief.

While I find the theory of creating gifts by hand really lovely and sweet, the reality is that I usually overestimate my ability to pull off the gift idea that I have in mind, which means I end up in a crying heap about three days before the holiday, wondering what the heck I’m going to get my kid instead.

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hand-making gifts

Despite all of this emotional turmoil, I always find a way to rally and pull off some kind of handmade gift for my son. Luckily, he’s pretty sweet and so far has always either really loved the gifts or has been really, really good at pretending that he does.

hand-making gifts

Like a lot of people, I enjoy knitting. In fact, I enjoy it a lot, even though I’ve been knitting for years and haven’t really progressed beyond making scarves and coasters. But when it comes to my kid, I will try to knit just about anything. One year, I made a forest-green bag for him to carry when he went off to forest school and wanted to store his treasures. I think he might have used it once, but he did wear the hat that matched quite a few times.

hand-making gifts

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I’ve also tried making something he can use to store his arrows in (he loves archery), which didn’t exactly work but definitely stressed me out during the process. I have presented him with countless scarves that he likes but doesn’t wear (they’re itchy), and even one year a sweater vest that I think he wore to humor me for a photo or two.

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The most enduring handmade gift that I’ve presented my son with is a Star Wars pillowcase that he still uses to this day. Pillowcases aren’t that hard — I had no problem hand stitching this one together — and there’s definitely something gratifying about seeing a gift you spent so much time making being used in such a sweet way.

hand-making gifts

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My son isn’t the only person I’ve made gifts for, and just about all of my family members have received something handmade from me over the years. I don’t handmake gifts because it’s a less expensive option, and, for example, usually end up spending way more on the yarn I use for a blanket than a new blanket would cost.

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I think the biggest reason I like making gifts for people, and especially for my son, is that there’s something really sweet about spending that kind of time on just one person. I love giving gifts to begin with, and giving a gift that I’ve spent days or weeks focusing on just feels extra nice. Handmade gifts are usually one of a kind, and even though I’m not especially great at crafting, making them still allows me to feel like I’ve accomplished something.

hand-making gifts

I don’t know if my son will hang on to any of the gifts that I’ve made him over the years, but I definitely hope he does. I’m still brainstorming what this year’s handmade gift will be, though I’m leaning toward something that is somehow video game-themed since that’s his big interest right now. Of course, I’m already a little late on getting started… so we’ll just see where this handmade gift adventure takes me.

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